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Kristen Daum, Published November 04 2009

Olson ‘shocked’ at being elected Dilworth mayor

Chad Olson had to catch his breath upon learning Dilworth voters had elected him Tuesday as the city’s next mayor.

Olson, a 35-year-old City Council member, garnered 57 percent, or 408 votes, beating out fellow council member Julie Nash, who earned 43 percent, or 309 votes, according to complete but unofficial election results.

“I’m ecstatic. Quite honestly, I’m shocked,” said Olson, a small-business owner and Moorhead Senior High School teacher.

Two Dilworth City Council seats also were up for grabs Tuesday. Voters could select two out of three possible candidates.

Incumbent Ryan Mullikin was re-elected to a council seat earning 85 percent, or 610 votes.

Jim Aasness, who is retired from Minnesota State University Moorhead, won the second open seat, with 49 percent, or 356 votes.

Mike Griffin, a U.S. Postal Service retiree, also was vying for a council seat but fell short at 42 percent, or 302 votes.

Because Olson was elected mayor when his council term had not yet ended, an open seat is available on the City Council.

After Jan. 1, council members will interview candidates and appoint someone to serve, Dilworth Deputy Clerk Sandy Payne said.

Election workers reported a steady flow of voters throughout the day.

When polls closed at 8 p.m., 721 votes had been cast for Tuesday’s election, including absentee ballots, Payne said.

Dilworth has 1,964 registered voters, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Web site.

Many voters Tuesday morning said they routinely take part in local elections, so this year was no different.

“I feel obligated,” said Randy Myers, 53, of Dilworth. “If you’re part of the community, you want to make sure that they keep their i’s dotted and their t’s crossed, otherwise it’s chaos.”

In Dilworth, all of the seats up for election carry four-year terms. The mayor’s job pays $7,200 a year, while council seats pay $4,800 annually.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541